The Seward County Saints wrapped up their 2016 Fall campaign in style on Saturday in Plano, Texas, going 31-9 as a team in the Collin County Open to finish their prep season as one of a handful of National favorites going into next Spring.
ITA Regional Champion doubles partners Carlos Anez and Ondrej Nice each took the court as seeded players in the #1 draw for the Saints. Nice collected two solid wins before being upended in the semis by Tyler’s Enrique Pando while Anez cruised to three straight wins to reach the finals where he went to the wire with Pando before eventually succumbing 7-6, 7-6 to finish second.
Seward sent two more to the fold in #2 singles, Przemek Zielinski won his first round match but fell in the quarters while Duro Opacic steamrolled the competition in the first three rounds before knocking off former Seward County National Champion Alejandro Gonzalez of Newman 6-3, 6-1 in the final to earn the #2 singles title.
Tyler again proved the nemesis for the Saints in the #3 draw where Ngoni Makambwa won two relatively easy duals, but couldn’t get past the Apaches Aaron Westerland in the semis to end his tournament in third.
Lautaro Monardo was Seward’s lone competitor in the #4 bracket and he showed well for the Saints, earning a pair of wins in the first two rounds before falling 6-2, 7-6 in the semifinals to Andrew Parker of Seminole State to finish third in the draw.
Claudio Quinones picked up a first round win in the #5 draw, but faced a stiff task in the quarterfinals where he dropped a 6-0, 6-2 decision to Big 12 competitor Gianni Manchi of TCU to see his tournament come to an end.
In the #6 draw, Seward’s Renato Santos dominated the competition. The Saints freshman was challenged in only one of his eight sets played, cruising to four straight set wins to earn the flight championship over Newman’s Ajani King.
Tuning up for their trip to the ITA National Tournament, Anez and Nice looked sharp in the #1 doubles draw for the Saints. The duo collected a pair of 8-4 wins in the quarters and semis and an 8-2 victory in the opening round to reach the final which they were forced to default in due to travel concerns.
Two Saints pairs went into the mix in #2 doubles with Makambwa and Santos combining for two wins before a close loss in the semis while Zielinski and Opacic breezed all the way to the finals on their size before earning an 8-4 win in the championship bout to earn the #2 doubles title.
Monardo and Quinones were the last Saints to hit the court in doubles action and they gutted through a pair of tough wins to advance to the semis where they downed a Newman pair 8-2 to make it to the finals. In the title match they were upended by the home team from Collin however, falling 8-3 to finish as runners-up.
The Saints went 31-9 overall in the tournament, collecting three bracket titles to finish up the fall.
Anez and Nice will now look to put a bow on the Saints solid fall season with a trip to the ITA National Tournament in Surprise, Arizona later this week.
COLLIN COUNTY OPEN TOURNAMENT RESULTS <http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/mten/2016-17/files/MenCollinFall.pdf>
Nthabi Mogopodi took the court at #3 for the Lady Saints and collected a pair of wins to reach the semifinals before seeing her run end with a 6-2, 6-4 defeat at the hands of NCAA Division I player Marli Van Heerden of Central Arkansas.
Seward dominated the #4 draw as both players sent to the fold ran their course against the competition. Lisa Suzuki started on one side of the bracket, winning each of her six sets played without losing more than three games to advance to the finals while on the other side, teammate Steffany Bermudez breezed to two early wins before gutting out a 7-6, 6-1 win in the semis to meet Suzuki in the final. The two Lady Saints decided not to play the final against each other, instead choosing to share the title at #4.
As well as the Lady Saints did in the #4 bracket, they struggled equally as much at #5. Neither Martina Borges or Fernanda Santana could come away with a main draw victory, each falling in straight sets in the first round, but both bounced back, dominating the consolation bracket, both winning two matches to reach the final where they agreed on a draw rather than playing each other.
Tadi Mrewa was Seward’s representative in the #6 draw. She cruised in the first round with a 6-0, 6-0 win and pulled out a thrilling 7-6, 6-4 win in the second round to reach the semifinals. In the semis she took a 1-0 lead with a 6-4 victory in the first against Maria Vlaskina of Arkansas Tech, but dropped the second 6-2 to force a tiebreak which Vlaskina edged her out 10-8 in to end her tournament in 3rd.
After winning the ITA Regional Championship one week ago, Rodrigues and Bermudez had high hopes going into Plano for the weekend, but the two suffered a major setback as they finished the tournament 0-2 as they were blanked in the opening round of the main draw 8-0 and couldn’t regroup with an 8-6 defeat in the first round of the consolation draw to bring their weekend to a premature end.
Suzuki continued her flawless weekend with partner Sarah Manseri in #3 doubles as the two cruised to three straight wins to march into the final. The final was not played due to time constraints. Mrewa and Madison Hoelting also played in the #3 bracket, earning a win against North Central Texas to go along with a pair of losses.
Overall the Lady Saints went 20-11 on the weekend, wrapping up action for the Fall 2016 season. The only players that will remain in action will be Rodrigues and Bermudez who will represent Seward County in the ITA National Tournament later this week in Surprise, Arizona.
COLLIN COUNTY OPEN TOURNAMENT RESULTS<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/wten/2016-17/files/WomenCollinFall.pdf>